A WOMAN had a lucky escape while clearing part of the garden at her home in Holton Heath, Purbeck.

Carole Fisher-White unearthed what she thought was a piece of old exhaust pipe and threw it on to the ground next to a pile of rubble.

Only later did her son spot that it was a mortar shell, thought to be left over from World War Two.

“It was in a corner by the shed. There was a bit sticking out. I just pulled it out and tossed it to one side,” said 56-year-old carer Carole, of Organford Road.

She left the two foot long plastic shell where it was while she went to pick up her son from Weymouth College.

“He stood and looked at it and said: ‘It’s definitely a mortar bomb, Mum. I think we ought to ring the police.’

“Our neighbour is a police officer, so we went round with a picture and he confirmed it. Three big policemen came round in a van and said to keep away from it but it should be all right to stay there for the night.”

Dorset Police confirmed they had been contacted at around 6.45pm. Photos of the device were sent to the Ministry of Defence.

“Their bomb disposal team was unable to carry out a controlled explosion at the location as they cannot detonate explosives at night,” said a police spokesman.

“The shell was secured overnight in the garden and all necessary steps taken to make sure the occupants were safe. The garden is around 100 metres from the house and surrounded by fields. Residents in the local area were made aware and no further police action was required.

“The MoD then organised for a petty officer from the Navy to collect the shell and take it away after it was deemed not to be dangerous.”

Holton Heath was the site of the Royal Navy Cordite Factory during World War Two and was often targeted by German bombers.